Yet another early morning sun woke us up in lovely Rome. Between Fontana di Trevi and the party office of Popolo di Libertà (Berlusconi’s party), we met with the Italian correspondant for Dagens Nyheter Peter Loewe in the fancy Stampa Estera – the journalists press club in Rome. The meeting was mainly focused on the refugee issue and the terrible tragedy of Lampedusa, which he had visited twice since that has taken place. We also touched upon other political issues such as the economic situation and the unstable political and party system. Some interesting data that Peter mentioned about the economical loss for the italian state every year was:
- €800 billion is in circulation within the three big Mafias Camorra, Cosa Nostra and ‘Ndrangheta every year
- €500 billion are lost in corruption every year
- €300 billion are lost in tax revenue every year
Next meeting was with the Italian Council of Refugees which is a NGO in the umbrella organisation of ECRE – European Council of Refugees and Exiles and funded by UNHCR. Compared to many other meetings, this one took place in a simple office space together with four italian women and one american. Obviously the tragedy of Lampedusa was a main topic, tied together with discussions of the Dublin Convention and resettlement regarding immigrants having influence on the choice of country where they apply for asylum. The five ladies were very talkative and we were impressed by their commitment to the subject and their work, especially the intern who was especially talkative and knowledgable.
After an intense morning we filled ourselves up with italian fuel consisting of pasta, pizza and the best organic ice cream so far – Ciocco Crocco with a taste of chocolate, nuts and nougat – and we will definitely pay them a visit later during the week, especially since Anahita has been nagging from the second she finished her ice cream.
Later during the evening, we met up with a think tank called Cultura Democratica, connected to the university LUISS. The members of the group were former and current students of the university studying law, political science and economics. The university itself is a private university spread out with three campuses in Rome that even had a private taxi system to get between the three departments. Their big commitment for the moment was a project of creating bills about lobbying and money laundering that they were going to propose to some of the senators within the parliament. The discussion was initiated around lobbying connected to Sweden, Italy and USA since their pro-american stand was pretty obvious. Then we left the subject of the US and talked more about the EU, migration, political systems and got to a really interesting discussion that continued for two hours. At the end we were invited to dinner in the university mensa, which is their dining area.
On the way back to the apartment we, of course, had to pass by a another recommended gelateria and where a new delicious flavour was discovered; Bacio di donna – Lady’s kiss. Molto buono!